Monday, March 12, 2012

Honda keys suck

The battery contacts are covered with grease which results in a bad connection. What at first seems like bad buttons on the module or a low battery is more likely that problem. The positive connection is made by the two contacts at the top of the right half touching the gold pad at the top of the left half. The negative connection uses four contacts in the centre of the left half which touch the battery. All of these are covered by the grease. You can easily see the four grease spots on the battery, and if you look at the full resolution photo, you'll also be able to see grease on the other contacts.

Unfortunately, to fix the problem you need to unscrew the small screw which holds the key halves together. The threads are coated with blue thread locking fluid. If that's Loctite, it's supposed to be possible to disassemble using normal tools. Unfortunately it's not very easy. You need a good screwdriver that fits well, a lot of downward force to prevent slipping, and strong turning force. Heating the screw with a soldering iron might help, and if done carefully, it doesn't seem to damage the plastic. I first got the screw to turn a bit, but it wouldn't go any further. What finally helped was spinning the screw back and forth a bit continuously while unscrewing.

This is a ridiculous design. Changing a battery shouldn't be that difficult. This deserves a recall.

If you want more information on the procedure, here's another guide. The only other tricky thing I encountered was separating the two key halves at the key ring end. They refused to simply pop apart, but wiggling from side to side (ie. rotation around the axis through the key ring hole) allowed the halves to separate. The battery is a CR1616. Some parts of the photo are blacked out because I don't know if any of those numbers are codes for remote unlock or the immobilizer.


Boris Gjenero said...

Windsor Honda has a screwdriver at the service/parts desk, and they will unscrew the problematic screw for free. If you find the screw difficult, it's worth checking to see if a dealership will help.

I was told that the screw is not actually Phillips. Their screwdriver is more pointy than a Phillips screwdriver, so it goes in deeper and provides a better grip.

It is ridiculous how Honda chose to use a non-standard screw and glue it, but I'm happy with how the dealership is willing to help.

The grease removal fix works well. The remote works properly.

Larry Aaron said...

I agree the design is pathetic and should be recalled. I went to my local honda dealer, Tiffany Springs in Kansas City. Service couldn't get the screw out so they sold me a new plastic cover and screw, but the screw will not come out. I drilled the screw, but it's still stuck. Who ever designed this should be fired.